Photo: Carter Oswood
In search of lunch? Look no further than Gazali’s on 25th Street. The Drake University neighborhood Greek restaurant has been here since 2000 and serves a number of Drake students looking for a unique international meal.
Lebanese immigrant Mario Gazali owns Gazali’s as well as the trendy, East Village Lebanese café, Open Sesame, on East Locust. Gazali’s serves mainly Drake students but is beginning to “build more neighborhood support” said Mario’s brother, Jay Gazali.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is very intimate and warm, and the staff is personable and welcoming to new customers.
“I was surprised to find such an excellent, authentic restaurant in the Drake neighborhood,” first-year Lisa Lerman said. “I feel like it really represents Greek cuisine well and improves the atmosphere of the area.”
The Greek background of Mario’s mother’s cooking inspired the menu for the vegetarian-friendly restaurant. They serve an authentic, traditional version of the Greek classics most of us know. Some favorites according to Jay are the spicy and classic sandwiches and their salads. In addition, they serve some unique Greek deserts that may be new to some Drake students including baklava, a sweet pastry made with nuts and honey. All of their food is made from scratch, in-house, rather than pre-prepared versions like their competitors.
The restaurant serves a variety of gyros, sandwiches, salads and sides that are all very customizable and unique. The prices are quite friendly to college student as well with most options under six dollars.
Drake first-year, Viri Perez feels that it is very important to support the international feel that Gazali’s adds to the neighborhood.
“I was so excited to find an international restaurant close to Drake that served such authentic food,” Perez said.
Gazali’s has a menu that is friendly to children and welcomes large groups in addition to catering. They have food that makes takeaway easy as well as outdoor seating.
Gazali’s is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. You can reach them by calling (515) 309-9167 or by just stopping by.